Latest testimonies and finding from the Cullen Commission’s investigation concerning the amount of cash being used by criminals in B.C. casinos in order to launder their dirty money. From the February 11 inquiry, we learn that the former president of the British Columbia Lottery Corporation Michael Graydon urged casino staff to generate more revenue for the industry by stalling to accommodate the proposed anti-money laundering direction.
Mr. Graydon was in charge of the lottery corporation until when in 2014 he stepped down to become the head of a Vancouver casino. Commission lawyers believe that gambling executives from the province have chosen to keep revenue numbers high, instead of adopting the proposed anti-money laundering measures by the B.C. Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch. When in 2010 huge cash transactions became more and more common.
Michael Graydon’s Term
Mr. Graydon stated in the hearing that during his term as CEO bet limits increased from CA$45,000 in 2008 to CA$100,000 per hand in 2014. He also claimed that casino and Crown corporation staff targeted high-profile rollers from Macau casinos. According to the Branch’s operatives, the organization warned him that the top 22 high rollers in the province’s casinos were accountable for questionable buy-ins in a total of CA$45 million, the former CEO did not consider the measures as first on the agenda.
Commission lawyer Patrick McGowan has presented in the inquiry two emails from Mr. Graydon in 2011 to his colleagues including his successor Jim Lightbody. And according to Mr. McGowan, the ex-CEO’s focus was to generate as much revenue as possible but not in the appropriate and responsible manner to the anti-money laundering measures.
Also, in the commission lawyer’s words, in one of the emails correspondence, Mr. Graydon warned that it was “absolutely critical” for the company to meet its budget expectations and generate even more revenue, and if the corporation failed to do so, the staff would not receive incentive bonuses. And even urged his coworkers to participate in the process with the same energy and used bonuses to encourage them.
The former CEO of BCLC also came up with a shocking statement, that Canada’s anti-money laundering agency Fintrac wanted the Crown corporation to accept the enormous cash amounts in order for the agency to report the statistics back to Fintrac.
In a stunning statement, Mr. Graydon said he recalled that Fintrac, Canada’s anti-money laundering agency, wanted the Lottery Corp. to accept massive cash transactions so that the agency could report the data back to Fintrac. However, later questioning of the former BCLC’s boss, came to the conclusion that he cannot provide evidence for his claim.
Unsafe For Investigation
The investigation from Cullen’s Commission on the matter of money laundering has learned from a recent hearing that after 2010 Asian organized crime gangs’ influence in the casinos become too powerful. Making any investigations by the Crown agency’s staff too dangerous. According to reports the amount of washed money by the criminals even reached around CA$200 million annually.
Not on the Agenda
Another set of information that has reached the public eye with the Cullen Commission’s hearings is that the BCLC’s executive did not take action in tackling the money laundering problem. In fact, in 2015, then-chair board member Bud Smith turned his attention to an offshore casino in Metro Vancouver, instead of the ongoing money washing in casinos that were regulated by the Crown corporation.
Source: Cooper, Sam “BC Lottery Corp. CEO ignored federal anti-money laundering direction on bags of cash: inquiry”, Global News, February 11, 2021